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Lunar Commerce

TransOrbital Inks Historic First Commercial Data Purchase Agreement From Private Moonshot

August 30, 2000, San Diego, CA, USA

TransOrbital, Inc. and the Foundation for the International Non-government Development of Space (FINDS) have reached a historic agreement, lighting the way for government and commercial data purchases in space. The two organizations have agreed to test the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) constellation at lunar distances to learn if it is possible to utilize GPS for navigation during a lunar trajectory or in lunar orbit.

FINDS, a not-for-profit private endowment that funds leading edge space research, is pre-paying for rights to license patents or processes that may ensue from TransOrbital's GPS experiment. FINDS, whose goal is to prove the viability of data purchase as a means of facilitating the participation of commercial firms in space exploration, intends to release the data to the public domain, enabling others to review and test the experiment team's conclusions. Rick Tumlinson, Executive Director of FINDS. said, "The current cost of space exploration is too high. FINDS believes by demonstrating that data purchase works, the cost to taxpayers can be greatly reduced and we can catalyze a whole new private space exploration industry."

TransOrbital's 2001 TrailBlazer spacecraft will be equipped to detect the weak GPS signals while in lunar orbit. The team will test the GPS constellation while enroute to the Moon and while in lunar orbit. TransOrbital will then analyze the experimental data for the suitability of GPS navigation for future lunar missions. If GPS can be proved to be usable at distances as far away as the Moon, it will enable a low cost solution for spacecraft navigation to the Moon and in lunar orbit. The 2001 TrailBlazer spacecraft will not rely upon GPS data for its navigation at the Moon, but instead will use established means of navigation.

TransOrbital's private, robotic 2001 TrailBlazer's prime mission is to return HDTV video from lunar orbit as well as a photographic Atlas of the entire lunar surface for the public, universities, and planetary scientists, and high-resolution aerial photography of pre-targeted sites.

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